Identify Your Position
Is your subscription business ready for the shipping delays coming this holiday? As the pandemic continues on, competition for package delivery services is at an all-time high. So what are your options? These are your three focus areas: Inventory, Order Estimates, and Communication.
Having adequate inventory avoids backorders and allows you to ship your subscription box on-time. To have adequate inventory, you must understand the amount of lead time your manufacturer needs. Lead time varies widely and relates to: the uniqueness of your product, the volume you purchase, and the country of origin. Your lead time tells you the final cutoff to have a specific amount of inventory at a specific point in time. Without it, you will have large delays as your customers wait for inventory to be available.
Have you estimated your shipment volume for the holiday season? Do you have up-to-date information on shipments that are already scheduled, layering in new sales estimates from upcoming marketing initiatives? These estimates are necessary for fulfillment staffing. When a fulfillment provider is low in staff, you will see your Scan Time metric increase. Scan Time refers to the time it takes from shipment creation to the first scan from the carrier. This is the best metric to use when evaluating the speed of your fulfillment provider. The longer it takes to get the shipment to the carrier, the longer it will take to get to the customer.
Lastly, what metric can you use to better communicate expectations to your customer? The recommended metric is State Transit Time. This is the time it takes for the shipment to leave your fulfillment provider to travel to the customer’s destination. State Transit Time groups transit time by different states, as the distance from the fulfillment provider will have a large impact on the transit time.
Be proactive: use last year’s shipping data to form a baseline and adjust that trend upward based on the anticipated delays your carrier has estimated or shown already amidst the pandemic. Communicate to your customers last year’s transit time specific to their state and inform them of the new time. Add this message to your outbound communication to provide more accurate delivery estimates when you send your customer their order confirmation.
Scale Your Strategy
These metrics are not just holiday specific and should be monitored year-round. If you’re looking to hold your team and vendors accountable in minimizing shipping time, Sublytics provides these metrics and offers automated features to monitor them on your behalf. Get in touch with us today to learn about our analytics platform built specifically for the subscription industry.